“The Triumph of Seeds” tells how seeds and farming shaped human history

| | April 21, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

That spark of dormant life may be hidden and hard to measure, but mother plants will do almost anything to protect it,” writes conservation biologist Thor Hansen, describing the marvels that are seeds.

Without the act and anticipation of planting seeds and harvesting them, Hansen insists, there could be no agriculture as we know it. Instead, our species would still be wandering in small bands of hunters, gatherers and herdsmen. Without seeds, human history might have been very different.

We travel from deep-frozen gene banks, via academics studying how seeds survive centuries of desiccation, to the vibrant natural world. Here, Hansen explores the origins of seed evolution, and the variety of colours, shapes, sizes and survival strategies they possess.

With light, engaging prose Hansen shows how the little spheroids we tip out of a packet are in fact supremely elegant genetic time capsules. The Triumph of Seeds takes you past the casing into the extraordinary inner working of objects without which our landscapes, dinner plates and gardens would be unrecognisable. You will never be able to look at an orange pip or a sunflower seed in the same way again.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the variety of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The Triumph of Seeds: Our huge debt to tiny marvels

 

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